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God-as the fruit of His wisdom and goodness. They are to be treated, not in a caviling manner, but with a reverential, humble, submissive, and candid spirit.
Q. 12. Is the doctrine of Divine purposes a new doctrine ?
A. It is not. It is as ancient as the Bible, and is contained in the confessions of faith in the Protestant and Reformed churches generally. Q. 13.
Is it important that the doctrine of the Divine purposes should be preached and believed ?
It is; because it is a truth which God has revealed to be believed and embraced ; and because it is the only foundation of the sinner's hope of eternal life ; for, had not God purposed salvation in Jesus Christ, none would ever have been saved. (J)
Q. 1. What is meant by creation ?
A. The act of giving existence. Creation is either immediate or mediate. Creation immediate is the production of something out of nothing, or where nothing existed before. Creation mediate is giving existence in a new form, or the production of something out of materials which before existed. The production of this world, in a chaotic state at first,
(f) Jer. xxvi. 2. Thus saith the Lord, Stand in the court of the Lord's house, and speak unto all the cities of Judah, which come to worship in the Lord's house, all the words that I command thee to speak unto them: diminish not a word.—Jer. xxiii. 28. The prophet that hath a dream let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word let him speak my word faithfully; what is the chaff to the wheat ? saith the Lord.—Is. xxx. 9, 10. That this is a rebellious people, lying children, children that will not hear the law of the Lord; which say to the seers, See not; and to the prophets, Prophesy not unto us right things, speak unto us smooth things, prophesy deceits.—2 Tim. iv.3. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine ; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, have ing itching ears.
was creation immediate. The production of man, in his corporeal nature, from the dust of the earth, was creation mediate. This last kind of creating is sometimes termed forming, moulding, fashioning, and making. (a)
Q. 2. What are included in the works of creation ?
A. The heavens and the earth and all things in them—all finite existences, animate and inanimate, rational and irrational, visible and invisible. (b)
Q. 3. Who created all things?
A. By the word of His power. By this is meant nothing more, than that He willed, or signified His pleasure, and creation took place. His power accompanied His word. (d)
Q. 5. How long was God in creating all things?
A. He was six days in creating them, though He could have created them in an instant of time, had he seen fit. Creation was successive in its parts, and thus gradual, though it is always instantaneous when it takes place. (e)
(a) Gen. i. 1. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.—Gen. ii. 7. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.
(6) Col. i. 16. For by him were all things created that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him and for him.
(c) Gen. i. 1. In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth.
(d) Heb. xi. 3. Through faith we understand, that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.-Ps. xxxiii. 6.9. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made ; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.
(e) Gen. i. 3. 11. 21. 25. 27. And God said, Let there be light'; and there was light. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth; and 2.6. How long is it since the world was created ? A. According to the best chronology, it was created about 4,000 years before Christ.
Q. 7. Would there have been any more holiness and happiness in the universe had it been created sooner than it was? or would any good purpose have been answered by its earlier creation ?
A. Certainly not. The reasons for creating the world 10,000 years before it was created, would have existed at that time for its creation, 10,000 years earlier still, and so on, in infinitum. Good and sufficient reasons, no doubt, existed in the mind of God for creating the world at the time He did, rather than before, or after, though he has not divulged them to us.
Q. 8. In what season of the year did the world begin to exist ?
A. Most probably in Autumn. This seems to have been the fact, 1. From astronomical calculations ;* and 2. From the circumstance, that everything was created in its most mature and complete
The first fruits of the ear were brought into existence in a state of ripeness, and fit for the use of man and beast. (f)
Q. 9. In what state did God create all things ?
A. In the most perfect state. There was no blemish in the natural or moral world. Everything came
it was so. And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind. So God created man in his own image ; in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.-Ex. xx. 11. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day.
(f) Gen. ii. 5. And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew;
for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.
* Bedford and Kennedy, two chronologers of eminence, have attempt od to demonstrate this fact by astronomical calculations.
from the hand of its Creator, perfect in its kind, and was produced, not by growth, but by mediate creation, and was so constituted as to propagate its own spe
Q. 10. What end had God in view in creating all things?
A. The gratification of His benevolence by exhibiting His own glorious perfections in the production of holiness and happiness. In the communication of holiness and happiness, God must necessarily display His perfections; and in displaying His perfections, He must necessarily communicate holiness and happiness. God had both these objects in view in creating angels and men, and all the works of His hands. The supreme glory of God, and the supreme good of the universe, are necessarily and inseparably connected. (h)
Providence. Q. 1. What is meant by the providence of God ? A. His upholding, governing, and disposing of all things, and directing all events, according to the counsel of His own will.
Q. 2. How does it appear that God exercises such a providence in all the universe ?
A. 1. It appears from the consideration, that none
(g) Gen. i. 31. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good.-Gen. i. 11. And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth.
(h) Rom. xi. 36. For of him, and through him, and to him are all things, to whom be glory forever.-Rev. iv. 11. Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power; for thou hast created all things,
and for thy pleasure they are and were created.—1 Cor. x. 31. Whether, therefore, ye cat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.Prov. xvi. 4. The Lord hath made all things for himself; yea. even the wicked for the day of evil.
but God, who created, can uphold, govern, and dispose of all things with the regularity, harmony, wisdom, and goodness exhibited in them ; for it is obvious that preservation requires omnipotence. The supposition that a created being is independent, or exists of itself, is absurd. Independence is an incommunicable attribute. 2. The fact that the doctrine of Divine providence has been generally received by mankind in all ages and in all countries of the world, is an evidence of it. 3. This doctrine is taught most fully in the Sacred Scriptures. (a)
Q. 3. In what way does God'exercise His providence over the works of creation ?
A. He does it either immediately or mediately. He exercises an immediate providence by His own -direct and immediate agency; and He exercises a mediate providence by the instrumentality of means or second causes. God is able to manage all the concerns of the universe with or without means.
Q. 4. Is the providence of God particular, as well as general ?
A. It is. His providence extends to the smallest insect, as well as to the most exalted angel ; to every individual, as well as to the species, or the whole col·lectively; to the falling of a sparrow,
and the numbering of the hairs of our heads, as well as to the
(a) Heb. i. 3. Who, being the brightness of his glory and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high.-Col. i. 17. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.-Ps. ciii. 19. The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all.—Dan. iv. 34.55. And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honored him that liveth forever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation. And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth ; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doost thou ?-Ps. cxxxv. 6. Whatsoever the Lord pleased, that did he in heaven, and in earth, in the seas, and all doop places.